How To Match Your Dress Shoes And Suit

How To Match Your Dress Shoes And Suit

A typical men’s formal attire involves a well tailored suit with a pair of dress shoes to match. However getting this done the right way is easier said than done. Many men find it a confusing task to come up with the right combination of colors and types of shoes and suits that match. In fact, it is very common to see men making fashion blunders such as wearing the wrong color of brown shoes with a black suit for a very formal occasion.

Formal dressing is no longer as strict as it used to be. There are now a variety of colors and style combinations that you can choose from but the increase in options also means increased chances of messing up the outfit. 

In this piece, we shall be looking at the various steps and tips to follow in order to achieve an excellent suit and shoe match for a variety of suit types and occasions.

Understand the Occasion

The first step to get a great suit and dress shoes combination is to understand the occasion for which you are dressing up. The more formal the occasion, the more formal the suit and the more dressy the shoes will be. A well fitted suit and matching shoes worn to suit the occasion, is a great confidence booster.

Formal Occasion or Setting

For an official or business gathering such as meetings and interviews, it is best to go for a serious look which involves dark colored suits and shoes. Colors like black, brown and burgundy are the right choices to wear for these types of events.

Business Casual

If you are attending an event that is not strictly formal or your workplace allows for semi formal dressing, you can try out more colorful suits like cream or light blue suits and more casual shoes like boots and loafers to give the not so serious outlook. You could also dress down your formal suits a bit with chinos trousers and jeans or go all the way out with sports jackets and monk strap shoes.

Choose a Suit that Matches the Occasion

A suit is a timeless fashion piece. One great suit can be styled in different ways to give you different looks depending on the occasion. 

We shall now delve into the various popular colors of suits and the shoes that go with them.

Navy Blue Suits

These suits go with the three main colors of shoe– black, brown and burgundy or oxblood shoes. Due to its color, navy blue suits are accommodating of a variety of shoe colors and types. You can wear them for formal to semi formal and even casual outings depending on the suit and shoe combination.

More dressy shoes like black brogues or a pair of oxfords will be perfect for a formal outing while a combination with less dressy shoes like boots will complete the casual or business casual look. The ability of navy blue suits to match well with different colors of shoes is rooted in the adaptive and blending nature of the color. Designers know to incorporate blue in their designs because of its welcoming quality.

Gray Suits

The three popular shoe colors can be paired with gray suits, again, depending on the tenor of the occasion. For very formal events, it is best to match them with black office shoes and a plain white shirt underneath the suit.

Gray suits are not altogether very formal suits thus, you may want to consider other shades of dark suits if you are going for a strictly formal outing. For a more casual look, it is best to combine a very light gray suit with a brown or burgundy colored pair of shoes. The shirt to be worn under the suit can be patterned with flowers or microprint to give the best results.

Charcoal Suits

Black and burgundy coloured shoes are the shoe colors that work with charcoal suits. Notice that we did not mention brown here at all. This shoe carries a mature air about it that does not work well with the playful brown shoe. The very obvious difference between the color brown and charcoal is another reason for the inability of the charcoal suits to match with brown shoes. A burgundy coloured pair of shoes will be a better alternative as burgundy is of a darker shade of color.

Brown Suits

Brown suits are compatible with all the three basic shoe colors save for black. However, to pull off a good brown shoe and brown suit combo, you need to ensure that the shoe is of a different shade and pattern of brown from the suit. If they are the same, it would give an awkward feel.


It is usually best to pair a darker shade of brown shoes with a light brown suit. Just like a charcoal black suit does not work well with a brown shoe, so also does a brown suit not work with a black shoe. These two colors just do not give off a great look and feel when put together.

Black Suits

A black suit is perfect for business and other formal gatherings and must be worn with black shoes only to get that effect. Burgundy and brown colored shoes or any other color of shoes are unacceptable.


It is best to go for navy blue suits or gray suits as they are more versatile and can be combined with different colors of shoes and even shirts to give different outlooks. A black suit is usually saved for very serious business occasions.

This article has been about the more popular suits and their possible shoe combinations. There are other colors of suits and shoes and those ones can be matched in so many ways depending on your creativity. Other items of clothing such as jeans and chinos can also be introduced to spice up your fashion.

Do not forget the importance of accessories like cufflinks, waistcoats, pocket squares and so on that give you a more wholesome and sophisticated look, depending on the occasion of course.

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